How to Shoot a Free Throw

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When shooting free throws, a player should be square to the hoop, he should release from the fingers, and he should make sure to align their hands properly. Learn how to use a guide hand properly when shooting free throws with help from an athletic trainer in this free video on playing basketball and basketball skills.

Part of the Video Series: How to Play Basketball
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Video Transcript

How to shoot a free throw. Now, everyone shoots the ball differently. But your standard of techniques that you're taught are making sure you're basically square to the hoop. So you want your hips square to the hoop. Some people have a heel-toe relationship, which really means that the....your feet are kind of staggered. And some people stand directly on the line. Now what you want to look for when you're releasing it is to make sure that your fingers are touching the ball, and not your palm. So there's a little bit of space in between here. Also, which is small, that a lot of people don't pay attention to, is to make sure your hands are aligned with the ball, rather than the ball being like this. It helps with the rotation of the ball. You also want to make sure your elbow is in so you don't have a hitch in your shot. So, instead of shooting it like this, you want to make sure you take that elbow in, and shoot it here. So you have a more direct angle at the hoop. What you also want to do with your other hand, it's kind of like a guide. So, now that you have your fingers right here, you want to use your guide hand. It's different for lefty and righty. Your guide hand on the ball, so one hand's going to be beside the ball, and one hand's going to be behind the ball. And now, as your hips are squared to the hoop, you want to get yourself down so you have adequate power coming from your legs, and then tuck your elbow in. When you're shooting a free throw, it's very important that you make sure you get your legs underneath you. If your shot is short, then you know you don't have enough legs. And if it's long, then you know you have too much power behind your legs. So, let's take a look at a shot. Most often than not, what distinguishes a good free throw shooter from a bad one, is practice. You must, must practice. The more you practice, the better you get.


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